Oremus for Friday, December 24, 2021

Journey to Bethlehem, from a church in Goreme, Cappadocia

Antiphon1

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see the salvation which comes from our God.
V. The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, *
the world, and those who dwell in it.
It is he who set it on the seas; *
on the rivers he made it firm. Isaiah 40, Psalm 24

Purify our conscience, Almighty God,
by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming,
may find in us a mansion prepared for himself;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. BCP79

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ycn4djk5

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!

HYMN: Mary Louise Bringle ©
Tune: Suo Gân https://tinyurl.com/2p9e22hr

1 Now the heavens start to whisper,
as the veil is growing thin.
Earth from slumber wakes to listen
to the stirring, faint within:
seed of promise, deeply planted,
child to spring from Jesse’s stem!
Like the soil beneath the frostline,
hearts grow soft to welcome him.

2 Heavy clouds that block the moonlight
now begin to drift away.
Diamond brilliance through the darkness
shines the hope of coming day.
Christ, the morning star of splendor,
gleams within a world grown dim.
Heaven’s ember fans to fullness;
hearts grow warm to welcome him.

3 Christ, eternal sun of justice,
Christ, the rose of wisdom’s seed,
come to bless with fire and fragrance
hours of yearning, hurt, and need.
In the lonely, in the stranger,
in the outcast, hid from view:
child who comes to grace the manger,
teach our hearts to welcome you.

PSALMS

Psalm 119:1-32
(Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/y9wwyccr)
1  Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way *
 and walk in the law of the Lord.
2  Blessed are they that keep his testimonies *
 and seek him with their whole heart.
3  For they who do no wickedness *
 walk in his ways.
4  Thou hast charged *
 that we shall diligently keep thy commandments.
5  O that my ways were made so direct *
 that I might keep thy statutes!
6  So shall I not be confounded *
 while I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7  I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart *
 when I shall have learned the judgements of thy righteousness.
8  I will keep thy ceremonies *
 O forsake me not utterly.

9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way *
 even by ruling himself after thy word.
10  With my whole heart have I sought thee *
 O let me not go wrong out of thy commandments.
11  Thy words have I hid within my heart *
 that I should not sin against thee.
12  Blessed art thou, O Lord *
 O teach me thy statutes.
13  With my lips have I been telling *
 of all the judgements of thy mouth.
14  I have had as great delight in the way of thy testimonies *
 as in all manner of riches.
15  I will talk of thy commandments *
 and have respect unto thy ways.
16  My delight shall be in thy statutes *
 and I will not forget thy word.

17  O do well unto thy servant *
 that I may live, and keep thy word.
18  Open thou mine eyes *
 that I may see the wondrous things of thy law.
19  I am a stranger upon earth *
 O hide not thy commandments from me.
20  My soul breaketh out for the very fervent desire *
 that it hath alway unto thy judgements.
21  Thou hast rebuked the proud *
 and cursed are they that do err from thy commandments.
22  O turn from me shame and rebuke *
 for I have kept thy testimonies.
23  Princes also did sit and speak against me *
 but thy servant is occupied in thy statutes.
24  For thy testimonies are my delight *
 and my counsellors.

25  My soul cleaveth to the dust *
 O quicken thou me, according to thy word.
26  I have acknowledged my ways, and thou heardest me *
 O teach me thy statutes.
27  Make me to understand the way of thy commandments *
 and so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28  My soul melteth away for very heaviness *
 comfort thou me according unto thy word.
29  Take from me the way of lying *
 and cause thou me to make much of thy law.
30  I have chosen the way of truth *
 and thy judgements have I laid before me.
31  I have stuck unto thy testimonies *
 O Lord, confound me not.
32  I will run the way of thy commandments *
 when thou hast set my heart at liberty.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 119:1-32
(Karl Kohlhase: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-119-1-32-KH.mp3)
How blessed whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
How blessed who keep his teachings,
who seek him with all of their heart.
They also do no unrighteousness;
they walk within his ways.
You have ordained your precepts,
we’ll keep them diligently.
O let my ways be firmly set,
to always keep your statutes!
Then I shall not be ashamed,
when I look upon Your commands.
I’ll give thanks with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous judgments.
Yes, I will keep your laws;
O do not completely leave me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it by your word.
With all my heart I have sought you;
don’t let me stray from your laws.
Your word I’ve treasured within my heart,
so I will not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
instruct me in your laws.
With my lips I have proclaimed,
all the rulings of your mouth.
I’ve rejoiced in the way of your teachings,
as much as in all wealth.
I will meditate on your precepts,
and also regard your ways.
I will take delight in your precepts;
and never forget your statutes.

Deal bountifully with your servant,
Let me live in keeping your word.
Open my eyes so that I may see,
wonderful things from your law.
I am a stranger upon the earth;
don’t hide from me Your commands.
My soul is crushed with a longing,
for Your judgments at all times.
You rebuke the proud who are cursed,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away my reproach and contempt,
for I hold to what you teach.
Even though princes may sit and deride me,
your laws your servant meditates.
Your teachings are also my delight;
for they are my counselors.

My soul cleaves to the dust;
revive me by your word.
Confessing my ways, you give answer;
instruct me in your laws.
To understand the way of your precepts,
I will meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weeping from grief;
O strengthen me by your word.
Please remove the false way from me,
and graciously grant me your law.
I have chosen the faithful way;
and have placed your words before me.
I will cling to your testimonies; O LORD,
don’t put me to shame!
I’ll run the way of your commands,
for you will enlarge my heart.

PRAYER

Holy God,
you are just in all your ways
and your commandments are the greatest of treasures.
Give us understanding of your law
and direct us according to your will
that we may be faithful in serving you
for the sake of Jesus our Lord. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Micah 6:6-8

‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
   and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
   with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

HYMN: Christina Rossetti
Tune: Cranham https://tinyurl.com/yckn3ybd

1 In the bleak midwinter
frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone:
snow had fallen,
snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter,
long ago.

2 Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away
when he comes to reign:
in the bleak midwinter
a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

3 Enough for him whom cherubim
worship night and day,
a breastful of milk
and a mangerful of hay:
enough for him
whom angels fall down before,
the ox and ass and camel
which adore.

4 Angels and archangels
may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim
thronged the air,
but only his mother,
in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the Beloved
with a kiss.

5 What can I give him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb,
if I were a wise man
I would do my part,
yet what I can I give him,
give my heart.

Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
   and gave him the name
   that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.

HYMN: Felix Manz; trans. Marion Wenger ©
Tune: Nun wend ihr hören sagen https://tinyurl.com/2s48yzh9

1 I sing with exultation!
All my heart’s delight
is God who brings salvation,
frees from death’s dread might.
I praise you, Christ of heaven,
who ever shall endure,
who takes away my sorrow,
keeps me safe and secure.

2 God sends him as example,
light and living guide.
Before my end he bids me
in God’s realm abide,
that I may love and cherish
his righteousness divine,
that I with him forever
bliss eternal may find.

3 Sing praise to Christ our Savior,
who, in grace inclined,
to us reveals his nature:
patient, loving, kind.
His love divine outpouring,
displayed to ev’ryone,
is fashioned like his Father’s
as no other has done.

4 Christ bids us, none compelling,
to his glorious throne
they only who are willing
Christ as Lord to own.
They are assured of heaven
who will right faith pursue.
With hearts made pure do penance,
sealed in baptism true.

Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

CANTICLE Philippians 2:6-11
(Chant by John Michael Talbot: https://tinyurl.com/y8ljx8y7)

Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.
Rather, he emptied himself
and took the form of a slave,
being born in the likeness of men.
He was known to be of human estate
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death,
death on a cross!
Because of this,
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
above every other name,  
So that at Jesus’ name
every knee must bend
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth,
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father:  
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE PRAYERS WS2, alt.

O Immanuel,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Lord of might,
O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
O Key of David,
O Bright and Morning Star,
O King of nations,
We rejoice and are glad
this eve of your Nativity,
for truly you have already come,
full of grace and truth.
Even now, come into our hearts again.
Show us the path of knowledge.
Comfort us in our mourning.
Save us from our sin.
Open wide our way to heaven.
Turn our darkness into light.
End our sad divisions
and be our King of peace,
so that every creature in heaven and on earth
will join in a chorus of praise,
and shout with joy to you, our Lord. Amen.

(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

O Lord, our God,
as we prepare to celebrate the festival of Christmas,
we ask you to make us humble and loving like Jesus,
who did not come to be served but to serve,
and who said that it is better to give than to receive,
so that in his name
we may devote ourselves to the care
and service of all who are in need.
We ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. WS2, alt.

Music: https://tinyurl.com/y9efvwm5
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14


BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.

DL © Daniel Lawson; used with permission.

1 Adam Bartlett, Simple English Propers; audio from https://musicasacra.com/additional-publications/sep-practice-videos/ ©

WS2 The Worship Sourcebook, 2nd edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources

The scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The Gospel of John is from the Common English Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Common English Bible and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.

The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language version of Psalm 119 is by Karl Kohlhase http://www.k4communications.com/karl/index.html

Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.

Compilation © 2021 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.

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